Archive for February, 2014

Caregiving: The Unexpected Career

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

How many Alzheimer’s caregivers are there in Virginia? How much does the care-giving role cost the female caregiver? What percent of the median household income for people over 65 in Charlottesville does a year in the nursing home represent? These and many more questions are answered by Dr. Richard Lindsay in his presentation at the February 12th meeting.  Listen to the podcast for the answers. Following the presentation, questions were taken from the audience. The program was moderated by SSV President Bob McGrath.

Dr. Richard LindsayRichard W. Lindsay, M. D., Emeritus Professor of Internal Medicine and Family Practice and former head of the Section of Geriatric Medicine, University of Virginia Health Science Center, grew up in Upstate New York, where his father was a family physician. He attended Cornell University and New York Medical College from which he received his M.D. degree and where he was a member of Alpha Omega Alpha. Following an internship at Buffalo General Hospital in Buffalo, NY, Dr. Lindsay practiced briefly with his father in Old Forge, NY, and then completed a residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Virginia Hospital. Following active duty as a Major in the US Army Medical Corps, in 1969 he joined the faculty of the Department of Internal Medicine at UVA.

Dr. Lindsay is a champion skier, plays the trumpet, and loves to fly-fish. He is also recognized for his work in the field of aviation photography. He plays a wicked game of tennis, and is a dyed-in-the-wool fan of the Cavaliers. He has three grown children and two grandchildren.

Program Summary

Dr. Lindsay’s father was a country doctor and his mother had very serious Alzheimer’s disease. Although caregiving is the unexpected career, it is one that can be the most satisfying thing anybody can do. The rewards for caring for a loved one are inestimable, but at the same time it is a very difficult and taxing career. If you’re looking for a job consisting of hard work, bad hours and no pay, then caregiving is the career for you.

By 2050, it is predicted that 82 million citizens will be over the age of 65. In 1900, the average life expectancy for women was 47, but is now over 81, and men are very close. Our goal should be to increase the “health span” where we’re living healthier longer, not just living longer. Currently there are seven people to give care for each person receiving it, but in 2050 the ratio will be down to one in three. The baby boomer bulge is growing older, and every day since January 2008 and for the next 20 years, 10,000 additional persons will be eligible for Medicare and Social Security.

For healthcare in the future you’re going to see a lot of people other than the doctor. The family caregiver must be part of the team and not dictated to but rather be a part of the decision-making process. All of the puzzle pieces must be linked together for the benefit of the patient: hospital, insurance company, family caregiver, primary care doctor, community, home health agencies, all of them to shore up the family caregiver.